To answer our own question: yes, eating banana peels is most definitely a thing. It’s a sustainable, no food waste, frugal and nutritious thing too! See our new pasta sauce recipe here along with more information on eating banana peels.
Creating a Forest Garden: a great book on this novel way of growing edible crops – with nature doing most of the work for you. A forest garden is modelled on young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops growing in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, there is little need for digging, weeding or pest control. Buy UK
What’s this about eating banana peels? Is that even a thing?
It’s definitely a thing. Eating banana peels is actually good for you; they’re full of healthy fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. It cuts down on food waste and can save a bit of money too. Whats not to love? The peels can be added to smoothies and curries, and even made into a bacon substitute.
The riper the banana, the sweeter the peel. If using in a savoury recipe like this one either use less ripe peels or scrape the white pith bit away as it’s the sweetest part. We were a bit worried that it might make the sauce taste all banana-y and strange. It didn’t at all. The peels have only a subtle flavour.
Banana Peel Pasta Sauce Ingredients (serves 4)
the peels of three bananas, washed well and diced small, hard ends cut off
vegetables of your choice. We used a diced green pepper, 3 diced celery stalks, half a diced courgette and a sweet potato cut into larger chunks.
herbs of your choice, a teaspoon of dried or a small bunch of fresh. Oregano is traditional. We used fresh parsley and lovage from the garden.
a tube of tomato puree
salt and black pepper to taste
We made a a really simple oil free dish. For a more traditional approach you could fry some onions and garlic in a little oil first.
Place your banana peels, vegetables and herbs in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the veg and peels are tender. Stir in the tomato puree and season with salt and pepper.
We’ve been doing a little bit of early gardening. In the pots pictured above are: red chilli seeds bought for 10p last autumn from Asda, coriander seeds from a Thompson and Morgan sale (their special offers are always worth checking out though we also saved the seeds from last year’s coriander and will be doing later plantings with them), rosemary that we grew from cuttings (so easy, just snip healthy looking bits and stick them in pots or the ground), and some thyme that was reduced to 30p in Tesco last year. These herbs have survived the winter well.
These potato broccoli croquettes are absolutely delicious, frugal and a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.
The Frugal Story of the Plate
The mashed potato we’ve mentioned, but the broccoli came from an Olio Food Hero who had been given 78 heads of the stuff by Tesco. (Olio is a food sharing app, search for it on your phone or it’s on the web here). We took a box from her for the compost (compost post here) as there was no way she could give all that away, but we used as much broccoli as possible in our meals during that week! The cornbread in the picture also came from Olio; the food heroes always have LOTS of bread, much of which gets binned if it doesn’t get requested quickly enough.
The hummus on the bread, we won in an Instagram competition. See our sister site’s account here where we share a lot of these tag and like competitions on the story. Feel free to tag us if you want! The chilli contained 2 peppers from one of those £1.50 big veg boxes Lidl sometimes put together. They usually contain at least £10 of food. In our local Lidl they seem to only appear early in the morning at weekends. The chilli also had a tin of mixed beans from Lidl and we used the water from the can as well as the cooking water from the broccoli earlier. There’s nothing particularly frugal about the salad…
Potato Broccoli Croquettes Ingredients
Mashed Potatoes (we used roughly a soup bowl sized amount for four people to have 5 or 6 croquettes each)
half a head of broccoli, lightly steamed or boiled
This golden soup is light and nutritious and fragrant, the perfect panacea for all the rich food around at this time of year (post written in December). The quinoa is a great source of protein and turmeric is nicely anti-inflammatory for this hectic season. (See Frugal Christmas).
Quinoa has come down in price in recent years and most supermarkets now have it. We found it cheaply at Approved Food recently (also check Low Price Foods). Rice would also work well, as would rice noodles.
Golden Soup Ingredients (serves 4)
a handful of quinoa
2 large carrots, cut into thin inch long strips
2 sticks of celery, cut similarly
half a leek, ditto
1 small sweet potato, same cutting
1 yellow pepper, thin strips
a cup of frozen peas
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek
salt to taste
Golden Soup Method
It’s very simple. Place all the ingredients except the salt in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the quinoa has swollen and released its little tail things. Add salt to taste and enjoy!
Everything5Pounds have a great range of clothes and homewares. All for £5, sometimes less. Designer items end up in the mix too. The Works are fantastic for selling sets of books for the price you would normally pay for one, so great if you have lots of kids to buy for (or adults!).
Travelling over the festive period?
Near the Motorways: Affordable Alternatives to Service Stations (10th
Edition). This book lists places that provide a meal or a quiet rest
just five minutes from a motorway junction. The author has personally
visited and selected over 200 entries in the guide which are included
for their ambiance, friendliness, imaginative menus or peaceful
surroundings. They do not pay for inclusion so each is chosen solely on
merit. Each entry is illustrated by pen and wash drawing by the
author, for ease of recognition. Special mention is made of the welcome
for dogs and children and of any places of interest which are nearby. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. People share things that they can’t use up in time, while farmers and gardeners sometimes offer produce that they have too much of. We’ve added this information to our free food section but you can just search for the app.
Sourdough bread is absolutely delicious and can be really easy and cheap to make. It’s the way bread was made for thousands of years, containing healthy bacteria for the gut, and the long fermenting process partly breaks down and digests the gluten. We’re not experts by any means, and are quite lazy bakers, but we’re successfully making lovely sourdough for pennies. Tesco sometimes sell off 1kg bags of plain flour for 15p (in baskets round the store) and those are what we’ve been using here, each one making just over two loaves.
We made this starter recipe using grapes and it certainly created a wonderfully frothy active starter that sits on a windowsill and is called Herbert! There was no wasting the discard when we first fed Herbert; we made pizza dough and left it to sit all day, then topping with tomato sauce, tomatoes and Asda free from Mozzarella (they have much cheaper free from cheese than the other supermarkets). It was gorgeous.
There’s a basic sourdough bread recipe here. What follows are our lazy variations!
The first bread we made was a herby olive oil focaccia. We kneaded the dough once, coated in herbs and olive oil and left it to rise all day in a tin before baking late afternoon along with dinner. It tasted amazing.
Then we tried olive bread, and returned to the dough after a couple of hours and gave it a second kneading and shaping. This one was left to rise overnight and baked in the morning. Again, the taste of this stuff is delectable.
The loaf pictured at the top of the page was the result of putting it into an oven that was not pre-heated (told you, no expertise here). The high rise happened during the lower temperatures, and we love it.
We were really pleased to receive this sweet and sour red cabbage recipe just now (during the Corona Virus crisis) as red cabbage is a really cheap vegetable that is rich in nutrients and good for the immune system. It’s also unlikely to be sold out due to bulk buying!
Goes with most things and ingredients can be altered to suit e.g. use any cabbage, vinegar, sugar, (what you’ve got).
This recipe also freezes well.
2 tablespoons marg or veg oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
2 apples peeled & grated
1/4 cup white vinegar
salt & black pepper
Heat marg/oil in saucepan. Add cabbage & apple. Cook for 5 mins. Stir occasionally. Add vinegar & brown sugar. Season to taste. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Serves 4-6.
Optional: add 1/2 sliced onion with cabbage & apple + pinch fennel or caraway seeds when salting (or whenever).
If you do want to stock up your cupboards, the place to do it is Approved Food. They sell clearance food, drink and household items online. They’re a fantastic source of bargains and are set up to cope with bulk buying, so you’re not depleting resources.